A Guide to Using Color in Interior Design

Three designers share their tips for using bold hues in living spaces.
rainbow room

Deep cherry red walls make a show-stopping backdrop for more neutral pieces such as arm chairs, sofa and an ottoman. Photography by Chris Vaccaro.

Scarlet Scene

To complete this Providence living room/dining room renovation, designer Kelly Taylor was given a few directives: keep the living room’s dramatic red walls, along with the sofa, dining table and chairs. The rest was hers to do as she wished.

“I will admit that at first I was a bit intimidated by these red walls, but as so often happens, they actually provided an inspiring anchor and color catalyst for the rest of the design,” says Taylor, no relation to Courtney, whose eponymous firm is based in Providence.

To balance the statement-making color, Taylor selected a brown and white rug in a geometric pattern before mixing in brass and wood furnishings for texture. She added pops of red throughout in the form of draperies, throw pillows and new fabric on the dining room chairs.

Instead of continuing the red paint in the dining room, Taylor covered the walls in a golden-hued grasscloth.

“Often, given a double-parlor-style room such as this, we would match the walls to each other. In this case, the living room red was so bold that we felt that would be too overwhelming,” Taylor explains.

rainbow room

Photography by Chris Vaccaro.

Paint Picks

rainbow room


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